Antique Jewellery Guide | Berganza


jewellery terms glossary

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A glossary of jewellery terms

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Kashmir sapphires are most famous for their superiority of colour, a colour unlike any other sapphire. It is possibly best described as an intense cornflower or cobalt blue with a fine velvety, milky softness. Their beauty is unparalleled and they have a rarity to match.

In 1881 a landslide exposed sapphires in a remote snow covered area in the Zanskar mountain range, in the Padar region of the north-western Himalayas, Kashmir. The sapphires were traded and found their way to Delhi where they were quickly admired for their exceptional colour. The physical mining of these stones was incredibly difficult. For several months of the year, the harsh, snowy climate combined with the mountainous landscape prohibited any kind of production. Coupled with this, the mining methods at the time were still fairly primitive; making the actual unearthing of these sapphires very difficult indeed.

Within just six years, the old Kashmir sapphire mine was exhausted. In this short space of time they earned a reputation as being the very best sapphires in the world. Incredibly, all of the fine Kashmir sapphires in existence were mined between 1881 and 1887. Even today, these stones remain the exemplar by which other sapphires are compared.

To own a fine natural unenhanced Kashmir sapphire is to have a truly astonishing gemstone of immense rarity.

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Updated 31/01/2023 at 5:51PM

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